Stoner Pumped for Catalunya?

Henny Ray Abrams | July 1, 2010

MONTMELO, SPAIN, JULY 1: Ducati Marlboro’s Casey Stoner won’t know for sure if the arm pump that has ruined his last two races has been cured until he gets on the track Friday afternoon at the Circuito de Catalunya north of Barcelona.The Australian suffered arm pump for the first time during the British Grand Prix at Silverstone nearly two weeks ago. With the Dutch TT less than a week later, there was no time to adequately address the issue and he suffered worse in the race in Holland. Stoner said that it affected him from the third lap of practice on Thursday and continued to get worse. The worst part, he said, was during the race when he had to adjust his riding style to compensate. In the end, he hung on to finish third, his first podium of the year, but it was far from the result he was looking for.Now, just five days later, Stoner is on the eve of another Grand Prix weekend. When asked what course of therapy he’d undertaken, he wouldn’t say out of fear that it might not be successful.”We’ve only had three, four days to really work on it,” Stoner said the day before the start of the Catalunya Grand Prix, the last of three races on the trot. “We had to recover on Sunday and then every day since we’ve done as much as we can with it, but it’s not something that’s easy to overcome like that. But, yeah, we feel that the arms have been sort of responding to whatever we’ve been doing, so we’re going to have to wait and see tomorrow afternoon how it is. And we should get some indications of what it’s like, whether we have to change bar position, things like that. But, yeah, we feel like they’re responding a little bit.”While he wouldn’t say what he’d done, he did have a better explanation for why it had happened. The Silverstone circuit had proven to be more physical than most and wrestling the Desmosedici had caused the flare-up.”I’d say that Silverstone was harder than most circuits and most situations and that’s where the issue started,” he began, “and, to be honest, that’s why we still had it last weekend, because once you get the muscles inside here inflamed they’re actually very difficult to massage it out again. And, yeah, it’s basically with the bike moving around so much I’m trying to hold on to it as tight as I can. Normally I’m quite relaxed on the bike, but I wasn’t so comfortable at Silverstone, so I think I was just gripping everything a little too tight over the weekend. By the time the race came around we got the bike set up well enough that I could relax, but by that time my arms were already at the stage they were going to pump. So we’re just going to have to wait for this weekend and hopefully it’s improved over here, but we didn’t have time between the first race that it happened and Assen to really sort it out, so we’re just going to have to wait and see.”Stoner added that normally it takes “a week or two before you really a difference. So for whatever we’ve done in these last few days we’re going to see if it’s helped the situation. Hopefully, I’m going to go down and have a look at my handlebar. We haven’t changed it in years, but we’ll see if we can do something ergonomically to try and help that. And we’re just going to have to see as the weekend goes on if what we’ve done is helping or not, then maybe I’ll let you know or maybe I’ll keep it a secret.”

Henny Ray Abrams | Contributing Editor

Abrams is the longest-serving contributor at Cycle News. Over the course of his 35-some years of writing and shooting photos, he’s covered events from MotoGP to the Motocross World Championship - and everything in between.